Monday, December 26, 2011

Even Santa Needs A Break!


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A day after Christmas, Santa is back home recuperating.  Jetlagged and nursing a terrible tummy ache, he yells for an elf to get antacid in his favourite orange flavour from the nearby pharmacy.  His dietician had advised an all veggie diet to control his burgeoning weight.  So he had stuck to having just Pizzas all through his world tour.  Wasn’t it the Congressional delegation from Minnesota that had declared Pizza as a vegetable?  And who knows better than the Senate!  To force all that pepperoni down his gullet, he had swigged copious quantities of Cola which boasts of containing no traces of fruit at all.  But despite his healthy intake, Santa had managed to put on another 15 pounds, got stuck in chimneys and had to be rescued by the Fire Brigade.  So much for the surprise!

Santa was tired of being old all his life.  Imagine a life with no teen angst, no cause to rebel and no mid-life crisis!  To make it worse, his contract with “ChrissyMissy” forbade him to dye his hair black.  Nopes, he was not allowed to look young, feel young and yet he was expected to go ho-ho-ho all the time.  Stuck with the same hairstyle and delivering gifts in a horrendously red business suit, he had started feeling like a glorified courier boy.  

On top of it, he had to deal with imbeciles who thought that working one night a year and spending the rest judging whether kids have been naughty or nice – life was one big party for him!  Santa wished he could show them, how it felt to work overtime on a night, when the whole world was making merry.  Carrying a gargantuan sack full of gifts.... dealing with the pressure of a deadline... navigating reindeers with zero sense of direction...sliding down all those dirty chimneys... Try spending some time in North Pole dude, with just reindeers and elves for company!  

There were days Santa Claus wished he could run off to Hawaii, spend the rest of his endless life drinking Pina Colada and doing the hula in a grass skirt. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

An Assembly Line Product

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You are walking on the road, holding your sari pleats in one hand and clutching your massive handbag in the other.  In a hurry to reach home before your maid does, your mind hovering over the stack of dirty utensils in the kitchen, you almost land inside a comfy looking pothole.  But today in your Superwoman avatar, no force can topple you.   You hop, skip and jump over the yawning crater with effortless ease and wonder if you have smashed an Olympic record.  It’s then you notice the woman staring at you intently, her eyebrows knit with concentration.  Hell yeah! I am sporty you have a problem with that?  Or is it my glowing skin?  I did switch to an insanely expensive soap with an odd fragrance.  She stops you and asks – Do I know you?  Wondering if the query has some deep philosophical meaning, your mind is now running helter-skelter trying to conjure up a smart retort.  But before you can stun her with your awesomeness, she says – You look so familiar, have we met somewhere?  You roll your eyes, sigh loudly and mumble – Welcome to the club.

When God created me, he threw away the mould and the sneaky Chinese stole it from the garbage bin only to make hundreds of copies.  Imagine being approached by strangers demanding to know why you look so familiar! You smile uncertainly and try giving helpful suggestions – mmm... school? Perhaps we went to the same college? Aren’t you the sis I pushed in the well and left to die?  

As if it’s my damn fault that I have a face that everybody claims to have seen somewhere!  By now I have heard it so many times, from so many people, across so many age groups that I’ve started doubting whether I am the genuine product or the Chinese counterfeit.  

Those of you who are unfortunate enough not to have relatives and friends, who look like me, need not despair.  You can always look up to the stars for inspiration.  I often have to bear comparisons with Moushumi Chatterjee (we have similar teeth) and few more actresses I’d rather not name.  As long as you don’t persist that I look like Shakti Kapoor or Kader Khan, I promise not to snap like Lalita Pawar!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Is There An NRI Stereotype?






Presenting K Mathur who blogs at Never Mind Yaar and has debuted as an author with a book with the same title.  She lives in New Zealand and writes passionately on two of India’s most pressing problems - violence between communities and the Environment. Her debut novel about friendship and fun between three college students from different ethnic backgrounds is set in Mumbai — a city the three girls love but know is fraught with communal tension.  On the surface the story might look like just another college love story but the writing and story telling, according to a reviewer, make it different.
 
According to the author, “Never Mind Yaar” is an attitude - our tendency to feel defeated by the scale and nature of certain problems, give up and move on with a sigh and a "never mind". We ordinary Indians have so many stumblers put in our path. No running water in our taps except between 4 and 6 every morning? Never mind yaar, we can take it. We are inured – such problems bring out our creative flair – water tanks, large tubs in our bathrooms connected through a series of pipes to progressively smaller ones, an alarm clock set for 4 am... “Even today,” she adds, “when my husband uses his ingenuity to sort out some problem, he crows “Aapan kaun?” and I’m supposed to holler with a high five,
Bombaiya!

In her guest post for A-Musing, she muses on the stereotypes an NRI faces.......

Recently they showed a movie on TV, here in New Zealand. In the movie some of the NZ public were against the South African Springboks being in NZ for rugby in 1981. NZ was split in two. One side said politics shouldn't enter the sporting arena, and the other, that a mostly white team from a country where the majority are overwhelmingly black was offensive. A lovely movie, denouncing South Africa's apartheid policy, recounted from the perspective of two NZ students who were against the South Africans being in NZ, and a police mole planted amidst them - a young female police officer posing as a student.

Then there was the token Indian.

He was the landlord of the two, strapped for cash, students. He was portrayed as someone who made ingenious observations that made you laugh. "We need to show that even well-dressed people are with you," he said to those students, joining them as they all got ready to march in protest with banners and placards. The students were dressed in their uniform - T-shirt, jeans and keds; and he sported a fawn coloured suit.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Two tight slaps!

Somberi.com

I will refrain from expressing angst against Kapil Saiborg’s attempts to be a giant broom that is out to clean the filth that floats on the World Wide Web.  No, not porn, not morphed images of celebrities on nude bodies, not fundamentalist propaganda, not the step by step guide on how- to- kill- your- neighbor- in- 10 –minutes- flat… but material deemed objectionable against politicians and religious communities.  I suspect God was added as an afterthought to lend credence to his indignation. It is another matter that Saiborg ended up giving publicity to all that he wanted to hide.  Within minutes the whole world hit the Google button to search for Sonia Gandhi and MMS and what made Saiborg angry!

I will applaud the chivalry in him that wants to protect the lady and her minions from the vitriol spewed by the nameless and the faceless.  Offending images that we are quick to dismiss as juvenile attempts at humour, but our polity looses sleep on.  I am surprised.  All along I was under the impression that being thick-skinned is a must-have quality to be a politician.  

Saiborg has a dream – he dreams of a Utopian world of subjects modeled after Gandhi’s monkeys –deaf, dumb and blind to all things disagreeable.  An Indiayeah of yes-men.  It’s great that you are dying to play the strict school principal out to discipline his errant students.   Three cheers for Kapil, the self-appointed crusader for model behaviour.  Bur Sir, if you expect us to shut up and behave, we have similar expectations from you as well.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Pigeonholed existence

If you come to my complex and look skywards, you are most likely to spot me screaming profanities from my balcony.  Before you open your mouth in shock, I suggest you quickly close it before a messy missile lands on your well moisturized face.  In case you are wondering about the origin of the missile, let me assure you that it’s completely vegetarian and fresh from the bottom of a pigeon ass.  

Seven years back when we had shifted to Gurgaon to our own apartment, I was more than happy to have escaped the simian population that had infested our pucca Punjabi calonee in Delhi.  It was impossible to come out in the patio without having to encounter their monkeying ways – baby monkeys swinging delightedly from the washstand, their parents unwinding on a nearby ledge and picking lice off each other.   I also had the pleasure of hearing my maid scream in falsetto, only to see an alarmed looking baby monkey sitting on my daughter’s sleeping back.  Once when a bunch of them invited themselves for an impromptu feast from our refrigerator, my MIL promptly locked herself in the kitchen before pushing our cook out with a timely warning...Indar, Bandar andar.   He realized much to his relief that it was not him she was referring to.  

Gurgaon with its open spaces and greens was an antithesis.  We were now staying in a high rise complex.  The views from our seventh floor condo were stunning, the rain never looked better.  Having a cup of tea in our balcony to the sounds of birds and wind chimes, the soft breeze caressing our face was sheer bliss. 

The monkeys preferred to stay back in Delhi and I could finally sigh in relief.  And not just relieved but also jumping with joy at the sight of the exotic birds I could spot from my veranda.  Yes, the millennium city is a haunt for exotic birds.  From parakeets to Asian Koels, to Bulbuls to storks, you can spot them all. 

sarahchalek.com

The bird community must have sensed the warm, welcoming vibes emanating from the Ray household. Soon our AC compressors became the favoured hangout zone for pigeons.  We saw quite a few love stories unfold in our balcony.  Singles ready to mingle meet, settle, passionate coupling ensues and baby pigeons make an appearance.   My daughter even played Mother Teresa to an injured baby pigeon. She named it Cheep (from the baby sounds it made) nursed it for days and grew hopelessly attached to it.  When it died she was inconsolable.

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